Hugo Chávez' opponent becomes a crazy, wild-eyed populist

Plus: Latin America round-up! A bloody battle in Bolivia, elections in Ecuador and Brazil and Argentina's version of Bill and Hil.
Soon, after our mid-terms, we'll start seeing coverage of Venezuela's upcoming presidential election. There'll be a blur of corporatist propaganda, Jackson Diehl will start churning out Washington Post columns based on the press releases of Zulia State Governor Manuel Rosales, and I'll be rhythmically banging my head against a wall in frustration.

The incumbent , Hugo Chávez, will get the extra special Swiftboat treatment this time around after his recent claim that Bush is, in fact, the Devil (a charge that nobody has managed to definitively disprove).

The narrative will be simple: wacky, out-of-control populist versus responsible, pro-American "free-market" technocrat. We'll hear things like: 'Rosales is campaigning on a platform of economic stability, increasing foreign investment and keeping inflation in check.'

The WSJ is already on the case, taking note of Venezuela's fiscal deficit -- unlike the one we face courtesy of Bush and Co., which is entirely OK -- that's resulted "As Chávez's Spending Outpaces Oil Gains" ($$).

But now, it seems, that there are suddenly two wild-eyed populists in the race; Rosales is in fact campaigning on a platform that's much like that of another candidate we know.
Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer.
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